Glacier National Park: A 3-Day Travel Guide
Updated: Jul 20
Glacier National Park is in Montana's Rocky Mountains, a wilderness area of peaks and valleys. It goes up to the Canadian border. In Canada, it is called Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada. Together they are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. We were here 3 days and drove the Going to the Sun Road twice, Hiked to Hidden Lake, and explored Waterton Lakes in Canada.
The drive to Glacier was a 2-day trip so we spent the night in Spokane Washington at the home of some friends. We had a nice afternoon, dinner, and evening with them.
The next afternoon we arrived in West Glacier, Montana, and checked into the West Glacier RV Park. It is on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. We stayed here for 4 nights in a full hookup site. It is a very nice park with a lot of room between sites and only 1 mile from the West Entrance to Glacier National Park. This was the 7th stop on a 9-stop road trip that started in the Sierra National Forest in California and ends Grand Teton NP in Wyoming. Go here for the start of this From the Sierras to the Rockies
On the 1st day, we took our time driving to Logan Pass and back. The park is beautiful with gorgeous lakes, streams, and majestic mountain views everywhere you look. When driving the Going to the Sun Road remember that there are size limits for vehicles. You can find these here. After driving this road I can see why some people opt for The Red Bus tours to explore the park. You can find information on the Red Bus Tours here.
If you're ever driving along this scenic route, be prepared for an exhilarating experience that demands your full attention. The views are simply breathtaking, but the winding road requires your complete focus. During our trip, we made a stop at the Logan Pass Visitors Center to embark on the Hidden Lake hike, a popular activity in the area. To secure a parking spot, we arrived early and were greeted with the sight of ice on the boardwalk portions of the trail, despite it being August. This moderate hike takes you through alpine meadows, rocky terrain, and breathtaking views of mountains and valleys. The trail is well-maintained and offers plenty of opportunities to rest and take in the stunning scenery. The highlight of the hike is, of course, Hidden Lake, a crystal-clear body of water that seems to be hidden away in the mountains. The cool, fresh air and the peaceful sound of nature make it a perfect spot to unwind and take in the beauty of Glacier National Park. Overall, the Hidden Lake hike is a challenging but rewarding adventure that is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
Although we were excited to visit Hidden Lake during our trip, our plans were thwarted by park rangers who stopped us at the Hidden Lake Overlook. Due to bear activity on the trail, they wouldn't let us go down to the lake. However, we made the most of the situation and stayed at the overlook for some time, taking in the magnificent views. Since we had arrived early, we encountered more people on the way down than on the way up. Despite not being able to reach the lake itself, this was still a standout experience of our visit to the park, and we would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a memorable and thrilling adventure amidst the natural beauty of the great outdoors.
To see the photographic equipment I use for landscape photos click here
On day 2 we took our 2nd drive over the Going to the Sun Road all the way through the park and then heading north on Hwy 89 on our way to Canada. We wanted to experience both sides of this great National Park.
Back when travel restrictions due to Covid-19 weren't yet in place, entering Canada was a breeze, requiring only a passport and ID. However, with the pandemic still ongoing, protocols and requirements have since changed, as we discovered on a subsequent trip. If you're planning to head to Canada now, it's best to do some online research beforehand to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and comply with current guidelines. On this trip, we traveled 165 miles from our campsite in West Glacier to The Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada.
Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada is a true natural wonder, with breathtaking views of Waterton Lake and the surrounding areas. During our visit, we had the pleasure of visiting The Prince of Wales Hotel, which offered not only comfortable accommodations but also a gift shop and restaurant. The hotel's location on a point of land provided us with the most magnificent views of the area, making the visit truly unforgettable. On the way back, we decided to take the highway around Glacier and bypass the Going to the Sun Road, which allowed us to explore even more of the park's stunning scenery.
We like to relax we travel so we spent 1 day just checking out the RV park and doing some shopping in West Glacier.
On the third day of our exploration, we ventured from Red Rock Point to the Haystack Creek area and Lake McDonald. We were amazed by the numerous pools that dotted the streams, and the cascading rapids were a breathtaking sight. It was a peaceful and awe-inspiring experience.
In conclusion, Glacier National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a true outdoor adventure. With its stunning mountains, crystal clear lakes, and abundance of wildlife, this national park is a true natural wonder. Whether you're hiking the Hidden Lake trail or taking in the breathtaking views from The Prince of Wales Hotel, there's something for everyone in Glacier National Park. From the stunning natural beauty of the park to the unforgettable experiences it offers, this destination is truly a gem of the great outdoors. A visit to Glacier National Park is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.
The next leg of the trip was truly an experience in "Yellowstone National Park: A Fun Filled 8 Days"
Lorna’s Tips and Lessons
One of the scariest hikes I’ve done was here. The hike to Hidden Lake wasn’t all that difficult itself, however, it was covered with ice. It was one of the slowest hikes I’ve ever done. I was sure I was going to fall, break something, and have to be carried out. I now keep a pair of shoe spikes in my backpack.